Wednesday, October 07, 2009
This is completely a case of buying a book for the sake of the awesome cover. Just look at it: a man in a space-suit is unloading boxes from a tiny, tiny needle-shaped rocket, only seconds away from being beaned in the head by a Martian ninja. Secret of the Martian Moons (sometimes with a prepended "the"), by Donald A Wollheim, claims that by the year 2120 Earth will have a colony on Mars, and the main character, Nelson Parr, was born and raised on the red planet. On his way back after schooling on Earth, the humans are ordered not to return to Mars, but he and his compartriots land on Mars' moons and check out the problem with telescopes. Bring on the mallet-wielding Martians who don't like being watched! The cover art is credited to Alex Schomburg, a golden-age comic book illustrator and prolific sci-fi cover artist. The book itself seems to revert back to the old premise of Mars-centric literature: Martians had been around long before humans, advanced well beyond mankind, but their dying planet defeated them — leaving only the wet canal regions a haven for what little life remained. While I might not be able to get into the book itself, I can at least enjoy Schomburg's excellent cover art.